Second to none (Brian’s Bash canceled)

I’ll pass along new reliever Willie Eyre’s uniform number as soon as I get it. That will be my first order of business today.

With Chris Tillman optioned last night, the Orioles will need a starter for Tuesday’s game in Oakland after Tommy Hunter takes the mound for the series-opener on Monday. Brian Matusz would be working on normal rest and he’s coming off his finest outing of the year. He would be the obvious replacement unless team officials want him to stay down a little longer.

They might not have that luxury.

Brad Bergesen also pitched last night, but he’s been so good in long relief lately, I’d be hesitant to mess with him.


The Orioles will take another crack this weekend at winning a series, something they haven’t done since June 24-26, when the Tigers occupy the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards.

Alfredo Simon opposes Brad Penny tonight, Jeremy Guthrie opposes Max Scherzer tomorrow night and Jo-Jo Reyes opposes Doug Fister on Sunday.

The Orioles are listing Sunday’s starter as TBA, but manager Buck Showalter indicated a few days ago that Reyes would get another turn.

Mark Reynolds is 6-for-14 with a double, home run and seven RBIs lifetime against Penny. Vladimir Guerrrero is 15-for-45 (.333) with a double and two homers. Nolan Reimold is 3-for-3 with a double. Adam Jones is 3-for-7 with a home run and three RBIs. Nick Markakis is 2-for-7 with a homer and four RBIs.

We had another cringe-worthy moment last night when Michael Gonzalez forgot to cover first base on A.J. Pierzynski’s bouncer to Chris Davis with a runner on third and one out in the ninth inning. Gonzalez escaped the jam by getting a pop up and strikeout, but Showalter had to be seething in the dugout.

OK, now let’s get to the real purpose of this entry.

The Orioles are expected to pursue a second baseman over the winter. I mentioned the possibility to one member of the organization, and he gave me a look that screamed “Duh!”

That idea was kicked around last winter, but the Orioles took a chance that Brian Roberts would stay healthy this season. The back hasn’t been an issue. It’s his head.

Roberts missed another workout a few days ago because of headaches that interrupted his sleep the previous night. We’re running out of time for him to go on a rehab assignment in the minors, since the affiliates will stop playing in about four weeks.

Roberts hasn’t been cleared for full baseball activities. That would be the next step, so we’re not far enough along in the process.

I’m not working off anything concrete here, but if the Orioles thought Ryan Adams was a serious candidate to take over second base in 2012, wouldn’t he be on the club now?

I get the impression that they’ll go outside the organization, but there are two tricky components. As one team official pointed out, a free agent might be hesitant to sign here if Roberts makes a full recovery and reports surface over the winter that he expects to be full-go in spring training. And what happens if the Orioles bring in another second baseman and Roberts is healthy? Will this player need to change positions or be a really good sport and take a seat on the bench?

I guess it would depend on the player.

The Orioles have to take the approach that Roberts won’t be ready. Plan for life without him and then make whatever adjustments might be necessary. How can they possibly go in any other direction?

Here’s the list of second basemen who will be free agents after the season, courtesy of mlbtraderumors:

Clint Barmes (33)
Willie Bloomquist (34) - $1.1 mil mutual option with $150,000 buyout
Orlando Cabrera (37)
Robinson Cano (29) - $14 mil club option with $2 mil buyout
Jamey Carroll (37)
Alex Cora (36)
Craig Counsell (41)
Mark Ellis (35)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (36)
Aaron Hill (30) - $8 mil club option for 2012
Omar Infante (30)
Joe Inglett (34)
Kelly Johnson (30)
Adam Kennedy (36)
Felipe Lopez (32)
Jose Lopez (28)
Julio Lugo (36)
Aaron Miles (35)
Augie Ojeda (37)
Brandon Phillips (31) - $12 mil club option with $1 mil buyout

I’ll toss out two names that intrigue at least one member of the organization: Hill and Ellis.

Hill could be let go by the Blue Jays, and the Orioles have seen plenty from him. He hit .286 with 37 doubles, 36 homers and 108 RBIs in 2009, but only .205 with 22 doubles, 26 homers and 68 RBIs last season. Before last night, he was batting .227 with five homers and 41 RBIs in 96 games. His OPS has dropped from .829 to .665 to .589.

Before last night, Ellis was batting .231 with 20 doubles, three homers, 28 RBIs and a .591 OPS in 94 games with the Athletics and Rockies. He had two errors in 470 chances.

What direction would you go at second base? Do you roll the dice with Roberts, pursue a name on this list, try to work a trade for a second baseman who could be made available, stick with Robert Andino or dip into the minors?

Update: Brian’s Baseball Bash, rescheduled for Aug. 28, has been canceled due to his “injury status.” That’s the official explanation.

Here’s a statement from Roberts:

“Due to my ongoing rehabilitation and after conferring with family and medical staff, unfortunately the decision has been made to cancel this year’s annual Brian’s Baseball Bash,” said Roberts. “This event has grown tremendously over the past five years and is truly special to my wife Diana and me, and that makes this decision a difficult one. My focus will be to improve my health so I can get back on the field as soon as possible, and return to supporting some of the Baltimore community initiatives we have developed and contribute to.”

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